Evangelism doesn't have to be frustrating or intimidating. Bill Hybels and Mark Mittelberg believe that effectively communicating our faith in Christ should be the most natural thing in the world. We just need encouragement and direction. In Becoming a Contagious Christian, Hybels and Mittelberg articulate the central principles that have helped the believers at Willow Creek Community Church become a church known around the world for its outstanding outreach to unchurched people. Based on the words of Jesus and flowing from the firsthand experiences of the authors, Becoming a Contagious Christian is a groundbreaking, personalized approach to relational evangelism. You will discover your own natural evangelism style, how to develop a contagious Christian character, to build spiritually strategic relationships, to direct conversations toward matters of faith, and to share biblical truths in everyday language. This landmark book presents a blueprint for starting a spiritual epidemic of hope and enthusiasm for spreading the Gospel.
About the Author
Bill Hybels is the founding and senior pastor of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., and chairman of the board for the Willow Creek Association. The bestselling author of more than twenty books, including Leadership Axioms, Holy Discontent, Just Walk Across the Room, The Volunteer Revolution, and Courageous Leadership, and classics such as Too Busy Not to Pray and Becoming a Contagious Christian, Hybels is known worldwide as an expert in training Christian leaders to transform individuals and their communities through the local church. He and his wife, Lynne, have two adult children and two grandsons, Henry and Mac.
Mark Mittelberg is a best-selling author and international speaker. His books include The Unexpected Adventure (with Lee Strobel), The Questions Christians Hope No One Will Ask (With Answers), and Confident Faith. He is also the primary author of the award-winning Becoming a Contagious Christian training course (with Lee Strobel and Bill Hybels), which has been translated into more than 20 languages and used by more than 1,500,000 people around the world. You can visit Mark’s website at: markmittelberg.com
Read an Excerpt
People Matter To God
Not long after Tom stepped onto the sailboat, it became clear that he was a first-class sailor, a fierce competitor, and someone who thrived on living at the edge of adventure.
Beyond that, this latest member of our racing crew had an infectious personality. He wanted the music turned up loud, lots of friends around, and plenty of excitement after the race. He wanted to win, but he wanted to have a good time doing it.
I hardly knew Tom when I asked him to join us. As our friendship developed, I found out that he was an all-or-nothing kind of individual. When he believed in something and was excited about it, there was no stopping him. But if he wasn't interested, there was almost no way to get him started.
And therein was the challenge. You see, Tom had little time for spiritual matters of any kind.
Then one night Tom showed up for our regatta with his arm in a sling. When I asked him what had happened, he explained that he had been out racing go-carts the night before, had imbibed too much alcohol, had gotten a bit out of control, and ended up getting into a fight.
By this time he knew I was a minister, so he half-kiddingly asked if I could help him out by praying over him.
"Maybe sometime," I replied, "but right now I have a Scripture verse for you."
"All right," he said, "what is it?"
I said, "The Bible says in Galatians 6: 7 that 'a man reaps what he sows.'"
To my surprise, Tom seemed stunned. "It doesn't really say that, does it?" he asked.
"It absolutely does," I told him. "It says that if you want to sow the kind of seed you were sowing last night, you're going to reap the kind of sling you're wearing today."
"You're putting me on!" he shot back.
"I'm not kidding you," I assured him, "and I think maybe you ought to commit that verse to memory!"
Over the next few days, I'd chide him a little by asking if he'd learned it yet. Before long, he'd just look me in the eye and quote it.
In fact, that whole incident became somewhat of a standing joke between us that summer, and it opened up the door to some conversations about spiritual matters. The following season Tom showed a few more signs that he was willing to take it a bit further.
One night when we were having dinner in a restaurant he asked me, "How does a person go about getting a Bible? I've thought about trying to read one, but I didn't know if regular stores sell them."
"Well, I could probably fix you up with one," I told him, trying to be nonchalant about the fact that finally, after two years of prayer and relationship-building, he was starting to display some genuine interest.
Later that fall, Tom actually drove a couple of hundred miles from Michigan to Chicago in order to visit our church and to spend some time hanging out at my house and talking together.
After he got back home, he called me and said, "I feel different on the inside. It seems like I'm starting to fit some puzzle pieces together. I don't know how it's all going to turn out, but I really like what's happening to me, even if I don't completely understand it."
One evening after a two-hour talk about what it means to be a Christian, I told him, "Tommy, you're going to make a great Christian someday. You're honest to the core, flat-out dedicated to whatever you commit yourself to, and more concerned about what's true than about what other people think."
He conceded that I might be right. But he wasn't ready. He was in the process and moving in the right direction, but he wasn't about to sign on any dotted lines. Not yet.
I'll never forget those talks with Tom. They were unpredictable, they were risky, they were exhilarating, they were give-and-take, they were up-and-down. And they reminded me of something I'd known for a long time: There's nothing in life that's as exciting as befriending, loving, and leading wayward people toward faith in Christ. Nothing.
Table of ContentsContents
Section 1: Why Become a CONTAGIOUS CHRISTIAN?
Chapter 1: People Matter To God
Chapter 2: The Rewards of Contagious Christianity
Chapter 3: A Formula For Impacting Your World
Section 2: The Prerequisite of HIGH POTENCY
Chapter 4: The Attractiveness of Authenticity
Chapter 5: The Pull of Compassion
Chapter 6: The Strength of Sacrifice
Section 3: The Potential of CLOSE PROXIMITY
Chapter 7: Strategic Opportunities in Relationships
Chapter 8: Rubbing Shoulders with Irreligious People
Chapter 9: Finding the Approach that Fits You
Section 4: The Power of CLEAR COMMUNICATION
Chapter 10: Starting Spiritual Conversations
Chapter 11: Making the Message Clear
Chapter 12: Breaking the Barriers to Belief
Section 5: The Payoff: MAXIMUM IMPACT
Chapter 13: Crossing the Line of Faith
Chapter 14: Contagious Christians and Contagious Churches
Chapter 15: Investing Your Life in People
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Hybells and Mittleberg offer strong motivation, well-reasoned approaches, and extremely well-thought-out personal approaches for sharing your Christian faith. It's a key asset for today's pro-active witness.
Though not clearly organized, this book contains many gems to help those who are scared-to-death to talk about their faith. It reassured me that there are different styles of evangelism, and not all of them involve in-your-face confrontation. From "Matthew parties" to unusual metaphors for presenting the gospel, there are many ideas here.
This book has been needed for a long time. Hybels simply declares what should be obvious: because our personalities are different, our means of communication will also be different. When communicating our faith, we should do it natrually, not with phony approaches learned elsewhere. Hybels success points to the effetiveness of this approach.
From the very first chapter this book 'hit a chord' with me. I could immediately think of people and situations in my own life that applied to what the author was writing about. We all have 'unpublished lists', as he describes it, (I really liked the phrase he coined there), of people, or groups we don't feel are worthy of God's love. This book helps us to rip that list to shreds.